Aug 25 2021

The Rural Funders’ Workbench: Tools for Grantmaking and Equity

Grantmakers for Education


August 25, 2021

Data tools demonstrated during this webinar

Note: tools are still under development
The Rural-Located Institutions Data Tool is currently unavailable. We will provide a link when the site has been updated.
Rural-Serving Institutions Data Tool


Rural Education 101: What Funders Need to Know about Rural U.S. - GFE webinar
Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges (ARRC)
Rural Postsecondary Education &  Workforce Training from Ascendium Education Group
Rural Matters Podcast Rural Higher Education - Parts I, II and III
Student Success Through Applied Research (SSTAR) Lab from University of Wisconsin, Madison


How are funders facilitating change in rural communities? Join your peers for an informal conversation and opportunity to learn about a new set of postsecondary data tools that can help rural funders identify rurally located and rural-serving institutions. These tools were supported by Ascendium Education Group’s Rural Postsecondary Education and Workforce Training focus area to advance its grantmaking and better understand how to define and identify rural postsecondary institutions. You'll get to hear from Dr. Nick Hillman and Dr. Andrew Koricich, developers of these tools, about how and why the tools were created. Funders will discuss how tools like these could advance grantmaking and equity goals for learners of all ages. You will also get the chance to ask questions of the developers, test the tools and exchange ideas with your peers. Join in to build community among funders who support rural communities and share actionable ideas and digestible take-aways on data.

This event is intended for members and other education grantmakers.

There is no cost to attend this Grantmakers for Education program. Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the program time. Thank you for your patience; we review each registration in advance. 


Dr. Nick Hillman
Director of Student Success through Applied Research Lab
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Nick Hillman is a Professor in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Hillman’s research examines how finance, policy, and geography shape educational opportunities in the United States. He directs the Student Success Through Applied Research Lab at UW-Madison and he is a faculty affiliate at the Institute for Research on Poverty and the La Follette School of Public Affairs. Nick is an alumnus of Indiana University.


Dr. Andrew Koricich
Co-Director of Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges
Appalachian State University

Andrew Koricich is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges and an Associate Professor of Higher Education at Appalachian State University. Drawing on his experiences growing up in a rural community in Pennsylvania, his research focuses on rural issues in postsecondary education, with a particular focus on rural and rural-serving institutions. Andrew earned his B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology and Ph.D. in Higher Education from Penn State and an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins.


Danielle Vetter
Senior Program Officer
Ascendium Education Group

Danielle Vetter is a senior program officer at Ascendium, where she is responsible for grantmaking in Ascendium’s Support Rural Education and Workforce Training focus area. Previously, she worked for global manufacturing company Cummins, leading the company’s charitable giving then focusing on developing and upskilling a diverse employment pipeline. She began her career at KaBOOM! Outside of Ascendium, Danielle serves on the board of directors for Benefit.Design. Danielle earned Master of Public Affairs and Bachelor of Science degrees in Policy Analysis and Nonprofit Management from Indiana University Bloomington. Danielle is also a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and Human-Centered Design Practitioner.


Kirstin Yeado
Program Officer
Ascendium Education Group

Kirstin is a program officer at Ascendium, where she is responsible for grantmaking in support of Ascendium’s Rural Education and Workforce Training focus area. Previously, she was a community impact manager at Higher Expectations for Racine County, a collective impact partnership located in Racine, Wisconsin. She has also held positions with the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, D.C. and Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish Language from Marquette University and a master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.


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